Saudi Arabia says it intercepts a missile attack on the capital


Saudi Arabia says it has intercepted a missile attack on its capital launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, as well as bomb-laden drones against the southern province of Jizan.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it intercepted a missile strike on its capital and bomb-laden drones against a southern province, the latest in a series of airstrikes that blamed Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the years-long Yemen war announced that Iran’s allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile into Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones into Jizan province, and a quarter into another. Southwest city and other monitored drones. Initially, no casualties or damages were reported. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.

The attack comes amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, a day after a mysterious explosion struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. That explosion renewed concerns about ship safety in strategic waterways that saw a series of suspected Iranian attacks on tankers in 2019.

Al-Ekhbariya state television broadcast images of what appeared to be airborne explosions over Riyadh. Social media users also posted videos, some of which showed residents screaming as they watched the blast of fire pierce the night sky, which appeared to be the kingdom’s Patriot missile batteries intercepting the ballistic missile.

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the Houthis were trying “a systematic and deliberate way to attack civilians.”

The US embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to the Americans, asking them to “remain vigilant in case of further future attacks.” Flight tracking websites showed that several flights scheduled to land at Riyadh International Airport were diverted or delayed an hour after the attack.

A civil defense spokesman, Mohammed al-Hammadi, later said that the strewn debris caused property damage to a house, although no one was injured, the state Saudi Press Agency reported.

As the Yemen war progresses, Houthi missile and drone strikes against the kingdom have become common and rarely cause damage. Earlier this month, the Houthis attacked an empty passenger plane at Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia with a bomb-laden drone, causing it to catch fire.

The Houthis invaded Yemen’s capital and much of the country’s north in 2014, forcing the government into exile and months later prompting Saudi Arabia and its allies to launch a bombing campaign.

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Associated Press journalist Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.

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